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#978865
Mon 02/09/19 14:36 UTC
Mon 02/09/19 14:36 UTC
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 5,592
Wolf Offline OP
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The Heartwood
Dawnview Vale
Highbeck Glacier Village
Attaday, the Eighth Day of Horse


Bekkah, Keiko, Lyric, Nizhentska, Tomomi, and assorted villagers

The others, those that chose not to follow Daxia and Morning Star, were lead into one of the stone buildings. There was a small anteroom, an actual vestibule, through which they were escorted. That lead to another larger room, this one lined with hooks and shelves. Many of these were already occupied by carefully set out cloaks and boots. Nizhentska shed her heavy outer cloak, hung her odd spectacles on the same hook and then kicked off one set of boots. That still left her with a heavy fur wrap, a pair of furlined smaller boots and heavy leather leggings. She shook out her hair, which was as fiery as Daxia's. Her eyes stood out for two reasons. One they were shadowed in black, as if she had painted herself with charcoal before leaving and because they were of different colors. Her left eye was blue, her right eye green.

"Leave stuff here."

She then pushed open the next door.

And they were assaulted by chatter, warmth, and light. Those with a good sense of place would realize they had been heading towards the mesa. Thus it was not surprising that they found themselves in a long carved hall. It was an unexpectantly magnificent space, exquisitely constructed. The walls were mirror-smooth, the floors were black and white marble tiles, and they were, of all things, warm. Of course, being a place of importance, there was a wide frieze running the full perimeter of the room, both illustrations of historical scenes and chains of runes. They shone in the lamplight, a subtle light shimmering, for they were cut into a honey marble and inlaid with gold.

A pair of hearths were set against each side wall, their fires making the room nice and comfy. Long tables of walnut and ebony ran down the center. This whole place was an anachronism. The finishings and furnishings were so different from the people who milled about on the first meal of their off-kilter day. There were quite a few; it was quite probable that there were enough people here, atop the world, to make this place mostly self-sufficient. But if it was, it was a hard life. They were garbed pragmatically, bundled in furs and wools, their conversations more mundane than would normally befit such a place.

Indeed, what was weird was as they entered, a small group armed with spears, bows, and a handful of white rabbits were heading out.

"Goin' fishin..." Nizhentska explained in her terse Jambles manner.

"Goin' fishin for bears."

On reaching the table, she stepped first on a long sitting bench and then right on the table.

"Hoi! Starwatcher's guests! Family. Only pester halfway to Night Sky."

Food was set for them, mostly by little'uns, while around them the conversation milled. In that manner, this place really was just another holdfast. People may live in very different locations, but in some ways, they were all the same. This was something very different than Lyric's small village. There, even the most simple of conversations was laced with dangerous trappings. The conflicts of court, the tangle of oaths and fealty. But here, in the mortal's world, it was just a reflection of day-to-day life: as if these were the things that really mattered and formal court dealings were things to be avoided.

"They came with... horses!"

"Glass Hall needs uncovering. Before next snowfall. Otherwise twice work."

"That one's pretty. Talk to Starwatcher. Mebbe handfast Stella's boy."

"Can we eat them?"

"Aha late. Worried. Hunt icewhales, sometimes icewhales hunt you."

"New meat is fresh meat. Makes Family strong."

"Little one gots whiskers! Whiskers! Is little one a whiskerfish? Mat says whiskerfish ain't real, just tellings!"

"No, not polite."

"Don't stare. Besides, what Mat say? World with White Sisters, anything possible."

"Golden hair, golden hair! Why can't we have golden hair? Not fair. We keep her?"

"Bah. Tired of bear."

They were served by the little ones, who looked up at the strangers as if they were something out of a morning bedtime story. They got a glower from Nizhentska to not be a bother. But when she thought no one was looking, she'd ruffle their hair when they did good. The first meal was a hearty stew — probably bear meat — accompanied by ice-cold kavass. Nizhentska sat rather unceremoniously on the edge of the table, holding her bowl in one hand as she wolfed down her meal. Those more polite could share a sturdy bench, just like everyone else.

"Eat up. Day just started.

"When warm can take you up to Clock."

"Unless want fish bear, hunt icewhale, look for whiskerfish. Not recommend last. Could take forever. Got to do something. At Watchtower, everyone works. Even if stupid work."

Tomomi replied, a little confused.

"Clock? Is that like candlemarks?"

Nizhentska tilted her head. It took her a moment to remember that something day-to-day mundane to her just might be new to a visitor.

"Nin. Nin. Nin. Not Candle. Clock. Metalwork up on world's crown, where one watches stars.

"World Clock."

She paused for a moment, looking at the others for a heartbeat.

"Dayala's Clock."

Her nose wrinkled.

"Stupid clock.

"I always get clobbered by bloody broken tablet.

"Hates me, it does."

#979151
Sun 08/09/19 12:58 UTC
Sun 08/09/19 12:58 UTC
Joined: Jul 2011
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Kel Offline
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Keiko khal’Nakano Hoshiko
[pronounced KAY-ko... do you think the GM has memorized this yet? Nope, not yet...]

As they followed Nizhentska into the building, Keiko couldn’t help but be amazed at the whole... well, village. It was nothing like anything she’d ever seen before, even beyond Kh’Lhy’Ra Pass. Of course, it was also true that she’d never been this high in the Black Mountains either. She had never been this far east. Her Family’s Caravan had only been almost as far as Gh’orre, which was still west of Snowgate Pass. Well, at least she thought it was... she was pretty sure it was.

Had any Rhoni ever been here before? Surely a lone Rhoni of some Family at some time must have been here.

But it didn’t seem like the stories made it out of the Highbeck Jambles.

The only reason she kept walking was that Tomomi’s hand was twined with her, and Tomomi kept walking, following Nizhentska.

Keiko wanted her pigments. Her fingers itched to put the colors and shapes and lines of this place onto little pieces of pasteboard so that others — people who had never been here, people who could never come here — could remember all of this with her.

Dayala’s Clock...?

Shouldn’t that be something she ought to know about? It seemed important.

Sitting between Lyric and Tomomi, she watched the youngsters going about their daily routine and the not-so-routine task of seeing to their guests. Nizhentska seemed like a big sister to all of them.

“Nizhentska, can you tell me the stories of this place? How many people live in this village? Are you all learning to be Starwatchers? What stories do your wall paintings tell? What do the marching lines of runes mean?”

Keiko paused to pick out a piece of meat from her bowl and chew carefully. The spices were interesting... different... tasty.

“How do you get vegetables and fruits? Do you have a way to grow them in the cold? Do many people come up here? Does anyone ever leave? Are you all Dayalans?”


"Everything is bad except unicorns." -- Phoebe
#979155
Sun 08/09/19 15:30 UTC
Sun 08/09/19 15:30 UTC
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 22,394
Phoenix Prime Offline
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Lyric

The Minstrel did not remove her cloak. She dropped the rucksack though, her armor and weapons secured inside. She hadn't been using her illusion magic since leaving the Vale and didn't have the comfort level to reveal herself. She kept herself close to Keiko and Tomomi, hodd drawn up to hide her more prominent Fey features.

Keiko asked all the good questions. Although it was unlikely Lyric was going to ask them herself, she certain;y did ponder then. This place was very old, and probably not constructed by these people in any of their own memories. These makes were probably a part of the stories of these people who dwelled here now and cared for things so very old.

And the oddity of that thought struck her, as she sat quietly with Keiko and Tomomi nearby her on the bench. Were her friends responsible for watching after her, because she was more ancient than this place?

The conversation of the young ones and even others was hard to follow. Theit language was almost like a shorthand version of the language she was not yet a master of in the first place. Lyric could neither read nor write in this Colonial common tongue and some times this was a challenge for her... but here, in this place, it was even harder to follow. Nizhentska skipped words, important words that connected thoughts. All of them did.

#979190
Sun 08/09/19 19:44 UTC
Sun 08/09/19 19:44 UTC
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 5,592
Wolf Offline OP
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The Heartwood
Dawnview Vale
Highbeck Glacier Village
Attaday, the Eighth Day of Horse


Bekkah, Keiko, Lyric, Nizhentska, and Tomomi

"Gah!"

That sharp expletive was Nizhentska's initial response to Keiko's query.

"Not you too! Grandmother makes Niz memorize all stories, then tell back! Why? Makes no sense. She already knows stories, or how could she tell me!

"Sometimes Niz thinks Grandmother Starwatcher is daft."

She took a deep, deep breath, looked at her bear stew, and took a big helping as if to steel herself to an inescapable task.

"Fine, fine, fine!

"All of us live here! Yes, all of us, here at top of world. Of course, we do, those who look to night sky and extend their hand upwards, trying to touch, trying to reach, trying to feel in one's heart the magic that is our home. More than handful, more than fullhand of fullhand of fullhands. We are not just simple village on the edge of the Jambles, we are the Snow People. There there are enough of us that if rest of world were to fade away, we would live on.

"And being the Snow People, how could we not know nature of our lives? Bears to fish, rabbits as bait. We know if you place pane of glass between Her light and one's bed, no matter how cold outside, your room will be warm. Thus, we have Great Glass Hall as our highest holdfast. There waters of our Well feed earth collected from bottom of crevasses and in Her warmth we can grow breakfast you eat now, give life to snow spices and walk about without furs and boots.

"As for visitors?"

Swinging her feet as she sat at the edge of the table, Nizhentska placed a finger on her chin.

"Trade yes, visitors no. Unless count unicorns. You can count black ones but counting white ones is like trying to name snowflakes in blizzard.

"Starwatchers can look to stars, and they will tell whether or not to expect visitors, but they not ever tell who.

"We trade fur and meat for seeds and cloth, mostly. Glass Rooms are wondrous, but not big enough for flax.

"And are we all Starwatchers?

"Of course not!"

She considered that again.

"Someone must feed Grandmother and her apprentices! So have hunters, fur makers, folks to look after children, folks to make our tools, folks who work gardens beneath glass and folks to make glass. Unless, of course, you are youngest Granddaughter. Then you must listen to stories every single night, be able to point out stars and their names — not to do Dayala's work or talk to them, but to remember their stories, so they do not go forgotten. And to get this, get that, here carry my books, get clobbered by broken clock."

She then leaned forward as if to share a secret.

"Tell you a story about this place?

"Tell you the most important Story we all have.

"My mat was softest, kindest of us. She made best little pastries and then sprinkled them with cinnamon. Always, always, no matter if I was child or all grown-up like am now there would be basket of them waiting for me when I got home.

"I don’t know if they really were best snikkers in world. They were for me. Because one bite, and if I closed eyes, I could taste love.

"We lost Mat in Great Horse Ice."

Closing her eyes, Nizhentska was silent for a heartbeat. But when she opened them, her eyes were bright and sparkling.

"But now you know.

"Even if it's little tidbit, my Mat now also lives in you.

"Only kind of immortality that matters."

From all about them, there came a sniff followed by smiles. It seemed that once their escort had begun talking, they had become surrounded by the village's children.

"The stories, the runes?"

That became a cue for her to stand upon the table, to sweep her hands in a great circle as if to call forth the carvings from the wall.

"Where were you before you came here? What is the one thing you need to be able to go anywhere? What is the one thing no journey cannot exist without, be that journey from one hall to the next, to the farthest reaches of the ice fields, or a journey between now and me catching you trying to steal my stew? I see that, you scoundrel! Wait! Just because I see you, I am not giving you permission! Gah!"

There was much giggling.

"But back to... yes, the one thing every story needs.

"A beginning.

"And here, here in these halls and all those that wrap around the First Well, are the stories that are the beginning of everything."

If that was true, was it possible that this place was older than even Lyric? Turning slowly, Nizhentska indicated a particular section of the frieze with a sweep of one hand.

"We teach our children not to disturb a sleeping bear. Bears are big and dangerous, and they will swallow... swallow.. swallow..."

Suddenly she spun and pointed at one of the children.

"...swallow YOU, Little Hawk, in one single bear-y gulp!

"But it is also a story that is older than time.

"There, that splash of darkness, that form without form, that darkness has a name. A name as dark and vile, the wind that makes the glaciers shatter — Balhut. One of those without form, kin to Our Lady and the world shaker. Do you know why we teach not to covet the things of others? That while you may admire someone's bear-poker and you may even ask to borrow it, you should never feel bad that they have it and you do not?

"Because that makes you Balhut's child.

"See there the mountain tall?

"See there, the mountain with eyes so wise, so strong, so sure, so quiet, so confident, everything that Balhut could not be?

"How could you not want to be that?

"There, teeth and fangs, claws and talons, see here and there the sundering of the very Foundations of the World.

"See there... see there... covered in red fire drying to black, eating a world's heart, claiming the very form of Those-Who-Are-Here-Always."

Tomomi just stood there, her eyes wider than saucers.

"Balhut triumphant."

Nizhentska became silent, her eyes narrowing. She looked to the children, she caught the gaze of her wards — Lyric, Bekkah, Keiko, and Tomomi — one at a time.

"But like all things stolen in the name of jealousy, that triumph, while before time, was short-lived.

"Balhut had kicked the sleeping bear.

"When the world shattered, Balhut had chosen what side They would take.

"Thus, when Time found her, Balhut discovered not what it meant to be immortal, but what it meant not to be able to die."

She leaned forward, whispering darkly.

"Somewhere that Lord of Chaos is still, is still dying, is still dying with each turn of the Clock's tablets."

A pause.

"Do you want to join her?"

"EEEEEK!"

The squeak came from both the kids and the Mouse. Then the children shook themselves out of their story shock and started to bounce up and down.

"Another!"

Again, Nizhentska choked.

"Gah!"

The children, as one, explained.

"Oh! We love when Niz tells stories!

"She makes them not boring!"

#979278
Tue 10/09/19 13:20 UTC
Tue 10/09/19 13:20 UTC
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 46,942
Nivek Offline
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Bekkah

She listened attentively as Nizhentska wove her story. She was good at it and despite the earlier complaints, she clearly enjoyed telling stories.

Bekkah looked at the children around her and gave them a comforting smile, laying a hand on the nearest of them.

She was not an innately curious person. At least not in the way a storyteller could satisfy. Bekkah was more of the curious type who would go and experience the story for herself if possible, so she remained silent, waiting to see if Nizhentska would tell another story or if Keiko or Lyric would ask more questions.

#979508
Sun 15/09/19 19:03 UTC
Sun 15/09/19 19:03 UTC
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 22,394
Phoenix Prime Offline
One of the Evil GMs
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Lyric

The Fey Minstrel sat quietly through the telling. It was hard for her to follow the clipped language, but she listened intently. She looked to the frieze. At the end of the story, where Nizhentska elicited a response from her charges, Lyric stood, stepping over and around all the young ones, to stand before the frieze. She stepped along the length of it a couple paces, trying to get a closer look, hoping for more clarity in the artwork.

When the world shattered

Balhut?

Lord of Chaos?

She continued along the length of the ancient artwork

story that is older than time

...like all things stolen

She wanted to reach out and touch it.

Only kind of immortality that matters

...but what it meant not to be able to die

The sarsen stones, the Iron Silver menhirs, and a Broken Clock

Am I Balhut's child?

Lyric drew back her cowled hood, letting it slip to her shoulders.

Quote

... those deeply blue eyes seemed to gather the thin morning light and reflect it outward in a deep azure glow. Her features were angular...


Her hair was darkly black, almost green when the light hit it just right, but there was something more in the darkness of that color black. As if it were woven in to her tresses, fine delicate feathers, silky and black themselves, framed her face. Her ears were pointed and protruded from just behind the feathers and hair at an angle away from her head. Lyric brushed back the locks on one side, pinning therm behind one ear so that it was better revealed. Whether or not any one feature was more prominent than another was up to each person who saw Lyric as she truly looked for the very first time. That being said it must be pointed out that she had two horns emerging from just above her brow, also emerging from the thick hair. These horns resembled goat horns, the type that were ridged, and they followed the contour of her skull back over the top of her head with the points flaring outwards. The horns were gray black in color and stood out from the coloring of her hair.


"Am I Balhut's child?," she repeated, this time aloud.

Last edited by Phoenix Prime; Sun 15/09/19 20:54 UTC.
#979510
Sun 15/09/19 21:24 UTC
Sun 15/09/19 21:24 UTC
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 7,875
Kel Offline
Sower of Insanity
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Keiko khal’Nakano Hoshiko
[pronounced KAY-ko... do you think the GM has memorized this yet? Nope, not yet...]

Keiko ducked her head and chuckled at Nizhentska’s reaction.

“But how is Grandmother Starwatcher to know you have remembered all the stories correctly?”

She looked up and smiled at the young woman.

“My elders do the same to me.”

The Rhoni simply blinked at the comment about unicorns. That was an interesting tidbit of information!

And so, so, so many Snow People... and so much more than she ever imagined.

“Mat of the Snow People will be remembered by the Rhoni. We are very good at remembering.” Her violet eyes twinkled with merriment. “But not as good as I used to think... we didn’t remember the Snow People.”

...what it meant not to be able to die...

Keiko shuddered. That was said to be a favorite torture of the Eastern Princes. And Daxia’s tale of the Priestesses of the Temple was an echo of Balhut’s fate — Chaos Lords and the Easterners...

She tried to hide her smile at Tomomi’s and the children’s reactions to Nizhentska’s story — she was every bit as good at telling a tale as Keiko’s uncle was!

She followed Lyric’s path to the frieze with her eyes, an arm draped over Tomomi’s shoulder. Then she looked from her friend to the Dayalan Storyteller... back and forth, three, four, a handful of times. Finally, she shook her head.

“Our stories, the Rhoni Lore, say that all people were born from the Shattering. Some stood beside the Lady Dayala. Others stood at the side of the Chaos Lords.

“The Rhoni chose to ride the waves between Order and Chaos.

“The Fae chose to remove themselves from Time.”

Keiko beckoned Lyric to rejoin her and Tomomi and Bekkah.

“Our Lore says you — the Fae — are our Ancestors. If you are Balhut’s child, then I must be, as well.

“But I am not Balhut’s child... I live in Balance, not Chaos.

“And, Friend Lyric, how can you say you are like the Jealous One, the One Who Stole the Dragon’s Form? You seek to learn about a world you abandoned Ages ago. Rather than coveting what others in the World have, you strive to find a way to show your people how to return to the World.”

She smiled at Nizhentska.

“Lyric is Lyric is Lyric.

“My friend Lyric is sometimes silly. And sometimes she forgets to let joy into her heart. It’s okay. Tomomi and I... Ladies Bekkah and Daxia... Dama Kisa and Dama Eleni... we are trying to remind her.”

Keiko turned and held out a hand to Lyric.

“You and your People aren’t immortal because you stepped out of Time, my friend. Well, maybe a little. Mostly, you and your People are immortal because we never forgot you.”


"Everything is bad except unicorns." -- Phoebe
#979511
Sun 15/09/19 22:00 UTC
Sun 15/09/19 22:00 UTC
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 22,394
Phoenix Prime Offline
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Lyric

Eyes, sad and misty, shifted to regard her 'friends'. Just that word alone, friend, and the gift to know she had friends, was enough to bring a smile to her face and... remember to let joy into her heart. She turned a little, enough to kiss Tomomi on top of her head. And then hugged Keiko.

"I think my people broke the clock," she said. "Do you remember the story I told at Snowgate Pass? The one where I told you how I was hunted because I was different, because I wanted to see a world that was alive, to find a way to give my people a new hope and a life worth living... The place I almost died, where I no longer hand the strength to run any further? Those pillars were Sarsen Stones... a ring of standing stones. There are several, maybe many all around our lands... As soon as I saw the clock, among those pillars of silver... I felt like I understood a story I once heard as a child, never spoken of among those of the Court... The Magic that it took to move to a world outside of Order and Chaos... that magic was stolen and it took the most powerful mages of our kind to wield it. Some say that many of them died, others whisper that all of them died... I don' know... I was a child, like these young ones gathered here. There were no more children born among my kind after we moved. My only memories of the world before... was the Great Forest of the World, my home... I was so young, so little... It is only a fragment of a memory now, but I refuse to let it go."

#979571
Tue 17/09/19 00:51 UTC
Tue 17/09/19 00:51 UTC
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 5,592
Wolf Offline OP
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The Heartwood
Dawnview Vale
Highbeck Glacier
Attaday, the Eighth Day of Horse


Bekkah, Keiko, Lyric, Nizhentska, Tomomi, and various Snow People

Nizhentska would have answered Lyric, but she didn't have to. She did smile as Keiko did that for her, actually turning back to her younger wards for that moment. To her, it was an obvious answer. She did, however, reassure the young one when they looked toward Lyric with no little amount of worry.

"Nin, nin, nin. Nothing fear, ja? If was one of Balhut's kin, they wouldn't be worried. Would revel, not care, not think, even... if kicked bear or not."

And things may have even gone unnoticed, not even the appearance of strange horns garnering a second look. Strangers were Strangers. They were not Snow People. That was what mattered. Until Keiko spoke a single syllable.

"Fae."

Her word was echoed. It was echoed low and long and dark. One word, one breath, and for a heartbeat, the room was silent, silent until the whispers suddenly started to blizzard through the room.

"Fae?"

"She's a Fae? Oh nin, oh nin, oh nin..."

"Ut oh."

"Get away, get away, get away!"

"Move! I'm hiding here!"

"What's a Fae?"

"Nin, nin, nin, nin, nin, this is not going to end well."

Like the waves created when a big rock was dropped into a pond, the Snow Folk backed away, fled, dove under the table, or skittered to find someone either bigger or wearing bulkier clothing than they happened to be.

"She's in troooooooooooouuuuuuuuuble now!"

Suddenly, there was a clear circle in the room. Inside its circumference was Lyric, Tomomi, and Keiko... and a handful of children, their eyes wide, absolutely fascinated, as if they just could not wait to see what happened next.

"Fae?"

Again, that one syllable was darkly repeated. But, interestingly enough, Lyric the Fae was not the center of the circle.

"Fae!"

Slowly Nizhentska turned. It was as if something in her brain had snapped. Hatred, pent-up emotion of years suffering swelled up within the Snow People's storyteller. Across the tabletop she walked. Slowly she turned, step by step, reaching down to snare bits of breakfast as she did.

"Nin! Not THINK! DID! You BROKE THE THRICE DAMMNED BLOODY CLOCK!"

She tossed a muffin at Lyric. Hard. It missed and bounced off the frieze.

"No idea what did? Ja? JA!"

A piece of bread flew towards the minstrel. Bread, not being very aerodynamic, fluttered to the ground after a foot or two.

"Oh. Oh. Oh. Let me tell story."

To emphasize her words Nizhentska sent something covered with syrup at Lyric. It missed, hit the wall and stuck there.

"Listen to the story every one here knows. Oh ja, oh ja, don't you think I hear laughing when the chirurgeons come out, to drag certain fair, beautiful, tender young lass back to beds. Having done nothing to deserve fate. Especially you, Snowhare! Laugh like icicles breaking in wind!"

One of the children, a girl, giggled. Niz was right.

"Not once, not twice, nit thrice — every single time Great and Wise Starwatcher summons! Hear tale not of luck, not destiny, but premeditated viciousness, of evilness ring of stone, dark side of Dayala's Clock!

"Ask not for whom the Clock tolls, know it tolls for Nizhentska the Innocent!"

She tried to throw another muffin at Lyric. It almost hit Tomomi.

"SQUEAK!"

Nizhentska narrowed her eyes.

"Even muffins, traitors!"

She focused her dark gaze on Lyric.

"Do you know what done? Not once. Not twice. Not thrice. Every time. The Fae Stone. The Fae Stone that's been broken since the Shattering. The Fae stone that's been still, mostly, night, day, motion shattered when YOU PEOPLE decide run away from Time and BROKE HER CLOCK! It sits, frozen, still. That Time stopped. Unmovable object.

"Until Niz step into Clock."

Another crumpet missile was launched. It landed in a bowl of stew.

"Not matter — next to it, other side. Try be sneaky. Try running fast. Try run and stop. NEVER WORKS. Fae Stone breaks loose and faster than white dartling circles clock, always longest, fastest, hurtest way, only stopping when...

"When Nizhentska goes flying off Clock, land in snow far, far below. When Nizhentska wakes up in hospice bed, chirurgeon asking if one or two fingers. Usually four, five. When Nizhentska bashed into ironsilver stone, to slide down because somethings always broke. When Nizhentska carried round ring like riding back of angry bear and then tossed off to tumble-tumble. Once Nizhentska hit unicorn. HORNS HURT!"

She then stopped as one of the children tugged on her cloak. The child whispered a few words that got wide eyes, pink cheeks, and a hastily tossed heel of bread.

"We do not speak of that! Ever!"

Her voice dropped to a whisper.

"I refuse. Not true. Never knocked out of furs."

She swung back and looked at Lyric, hands on her hips.

"Then, after, of course, stops.

"Until next time.

"It's all your fault!"

Last edited by Wolf; Tue 17/09/19 00:52 UTC.
#979572
Tue 17/09/19 00:59 UTC
Tue 17/09/19 00:59 UTC
Joined: Jul 2011
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Kel Offline
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Keiko khal’Nakano Hoshiko
[pronounced KAY-ko... do you think the GM has memorized this yet? Nope, not yet...]

The Rhoni listened to the Storyteller’s tale, running back along the words to fill in words Nizhentska skipped. She certainly understood the gist of the story.

And when Niz stopped and looked at Lyric, Keiko frowned. Her brows lowered. She took one deep breath, and then said...

NIN!

Then the diminutive Rhoni marched over to the table, stepped up on the bench... stepped up on the table, and faced Nizhentska with her hands on her hips. She wasn’t nose to nose with the Dayalan only because the Dayalan was taller.

“Nin, nin, nin, nin!

“I am Rhoni. Rhoni are blamed for everything. We hardly ever do any of the things Gaija blame on us. *I* never do the things Gaija blame on me.

“Nin, nin, nin! Maybe Lyric’s elders broke your foolish clock. But don’t blame my friend for something she did not do. Go find the silly court people of the Fae and blame them!”

Keiko stared at Niz for a handful of heartbeats and then pointed a single finger at the Storyteller.

“I will Read the Cards for you.”

It sounded like a threat.


"Everything is bad except unicorns." -- Phoebe
#979589
Tue 17/09/19 13:14 UTC
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Bekkah

She was completely taken by surprise by Nin's reaction. Then Keiko stepped forward. She decided to let things play out with Keiko first, but she stepped next to Lyric. Perhaps Nin would be less likely to throw anything harmful at Lyric if she might hit the priestess.

#979663
Thu 19/09/19 18:20 UTC
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Lyric

The Minstrel was caught off-guard to hear the whispered word and she turned to watch the children withdrawing from her. Was that fear? fear of her? or fear of...

Lyric looked up from them to Niz, stalking forward from atop the long table. She had a considerable height advantage and malice in her eyes. Lyric took a half step back herself. fear of Niz? Lyric flinched at the first errant piece of food thrown at her. The woman's anguish and anger were palpable and wholly focused on Lyric. She could feel it in her spirit. Lyric held her ground after that, hoping the objects being thrown would hit her. Not that she deserved it in and of herself. She didn't. But a representative of her people, in the face of this woman's anger and pain, it could have served some purpose in allowing her the satisfaction of venting her emotions. If Nin truly wanted to hurt her or anyone, she could. There were plenty of solid objects, sharp ones too, that she could wield and throw. And, if Lyric didn't want to be struck, Nin would never be able to touch her. But, what would any of that accomplish. Lyric only used that magic for battle and that was an aspect of her that she did not much care for at all. When it was needed, she use it. When a friend's life was in danger... when the Pack faced overwhelming odds with a greater mission hanging on their success at keeping the Dwarves from reaching the next room... When the Pack committed itself to a sacrifice because there was no way to turn the Dwarves back, but only delay them.... When the Pack accepted that the greater good of giving their lives so that others of their kind might see just one sunrise and one sunset outweighed their own desires to live... Lyric chose to change fate. Lyric used THAT magic because she had friends who believed in her, trusted her, and even loved her. She had never felt these emotions. If she had, she had forgotten them a long time ago.

She would use that magic again for the lives of any of her friends now... But never to avoid the consequences of things she deserved to face, or things her people deserved to face. So she stood her ground and listened to the story and accepted the woman's anger and her ill-aimed wrath.

It hurt to feel the anger though. There was no way to take any of the 'crimes' back. The Fae had done a terrible thing out of their own selfishness and fear and defiance... or whatever it was that caused her elders to steal a magic that wasn't there own. They had become the monsters out of nightmares, reinforced by arrogance in the belief that their Immortality made them superior, better than, above others, with the right to do as they pleased with any one and any thing that was not them. And sometimes to do it with those that were them...

Keiko slipped from her side and boldly confronted the Snow Folk Storyteller. Lyric tried to reach out to stop her. But there were few things that could stop keiko when she decided to do something. Bekkah then stepped up beside her to fill the void. The Priestess was usually so quiet and introspective, an observe of the world, that it surprised her a little. Not because Bekkah didn't care, she certainly did. But that she recognized that Lyric needed reassurance that she wasn't the sum of all evil right now. She let the outstretched hand fall a ways and then she offered it for bekkah to take in her own. With her other hand she reached for Tomomi's little Mouseness hand.

(OOC: I will hold here so as not to muddy the waters with more voices)

#979803
Sun 22/09/19 18:08 UTC
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The Heartwood
Dawnview Vale
Highbeck Glacier Village
Attaday, the Eighth Day of Horse


Bekkah, Keiko, Lyric, Nizhentska, Tomomi, and various villagers

"Nin!"

Nizhentska pointed a hand at Keiko, a hand that held a deadly missile. Fine. Her hand had half of a torn hunk of bread in it. She then pointed it at Lyric.

"Ja!"

And back to Keiko.

"Nin!"

And again.

"Ja!"

And again!

"Nin!

"Ja!

"Nin!

"Ja!

"Nin!

"Nin!

"Nin?

"GAH!"

Having gotten tangled in her own frustration, exasperation, and the need to do something, anything, the clock-battered Snow Person stomped her foot on the table and threw up her arms, sending a cascade of breakfast pastries everywhere. In the end... in the end, she refocused her attention upon Keiko.

"Oh nin, oh nin, don't play warrior morning's light! Not Rhoni fault! Nin! Rhoni time good time. Well-behaved time. Marked time. Tick Tock Tick! Space between, where ponies run, may not be same time, but still time, still ordered, still make sense. Currents flow, ride waves here and there, but waves not come out of ocean to beat on poor innocent storytellers.

"Think! If not, how could Cards work? Everything becomes Everything and thus...

"...nothing."

Spinning on her heel, Nizhentska returned her attention back to Lyric.

"SAY SOMETHING!

"Gah!

"Run away. Fine. Run. Run. Run. Turn back on Shattering. Turn back on everyone. Solve riddle, yes? Live forever, not turn into snail? Not change you. Not change world. Just. Stop. Time.

"But Time cannot truly stop.

"How I know?

"Stupid Fae Stone hates me!"

Standing next to Lyric, Tomomi squeezed back when her hand was held. Her head was tilted, quiet, considering.

"The nicest thing about Soft, Lyric's pack-mate?

"When things go badly for you, you can yell and yell and yell and cry.

"Soft is always Soft."

Closing her eye, Nizhentska wrapped her arms about herself.

"I have nothing to ask Cards. Do not need Cards to know what happens when I try to go into Clock.

"Future comes. Time moves on. Why spoil surprise?"

Slowly though, the village storyteller opens her eyes.

"Time moves on."

It was Bekkah she said that too — Bekkah the Priestess.

"You feel it, ja?

And with that, she nodded to Lyric.

#980022
Fri 27/09/19 13:13 UTC
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Bekkah

"Indeed it does. Far too quickly it seems." she said with a sad look in her blue eyes.

#980215
Mon 30/09/19 16:13 UTC
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Lyric

Through Niz's fury and anger and hurt and fear, yes, fear, there were clues. Important droplets of rain in the mist and drizzle of emotion. An important question that Niz kept asking without ever getting an answer it seems, was why the clock does what the clock does when she comes near. Not out of hate. Perhaps the more focused question is 'Why dos it move when Nin comes near it?' Lyric had a thought, small, flickering, unsubstantiated and ill-informed... but a thought nonetheless.

Niz implored her to speak. Tomomi comforted Lyric. Bekkah comforted Niz. But speak Lyric must.

"I have no answers Niz... only questions. I have NOT come so far from my own home to break the world anymore than it already is. I want to save my world, my people. I am starting to believe that to save my people I must fix your world..."

As if those words weren't beyond arrogance, Lyric had no idea how she could ever hope to accomplish even the slightest change in destiny and fate.

Lyric let slip Tomomi's paw/hand and took a few steps closer to the table and was now well within Niz's errant range of biscuit fire. She opened her arms, invitingly. "Please step down and allow me to speak my apologies to you and hug you and let you feel the sincerity of my words. While I may be the embodiment of the fears and nightmares of this world, I am not, and never have been a breaker of worlds."

Lyric gestured again, taking another step.

"Please, step down from the table... I am both a child, as young and innocent as these, and also a fearsome creature of nearly three thousand of your years. Trapped in a nearly timeless shadow of the real world and dragged along because nothing can ever truly stop the inexorable pull of Time itself. I do understand that time moves on Niz. I do. Because if it didn't I would never have a care nor fear for the future, nor a longing for that which I barely remember, nor a hope for the future where life and death and love and loss have any real meaning beyond the charade and pantomime that they have become. Yes, Niz... Time marches on. I feel it. I have always felt it. A pain in my heart and soul crying out for me to summon the courage to scream out loud that I must do something about it... Time marches on, because it was only after Time took everything away from me, everything I have clung to as familiar, no matter how harmful it actually was... that I was forced to take a step forward WITH Time. I am here, in front of you now, on this journey because Time has brought me here. It has given me friends to comfort me, protect me, and reason to care for someone other than myself, to understand the truth of emotions I could only pretend to have before, to bring forth a fire in these nearly dormant feelings and make them real again. Friends to cherish, when in all fairness they should fear my cruel and indifferent kind, and shun me. Time has not chosen to explain the reasons why, nor gifted me with a the purpose of how... It has just found a way to place me where I have always wanted and needed to be."

She gestured again for Niz to step down and embrace her.

"Come... please. Feel that I am real and genuine in my hopes and desires. Give me a chance to prove that I am more than what you expect and less than what you hate. Give me a chance to surrender my own guilt over the anguish and pain you and so many others feel because of the terrible cruelty and selfishness that broke the clock in the first place. Please?"

Last edited by Phoenix Prime; Tue 01/10/19 02:08 UTC. Reason: fixed - Niz for Nin
#980358
Fri 04/10/19 03:35 UTC
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Keiko khal’Nakano Hoshiko
[pronounced KAY-ko... do you think the GM has memorized this yet? Nope, not yet...]

Keiko looked at Friend Lyric as she spoke her heart. Then she looked at Niz and nodded.

“Nizhentska of the Snow People, I would like to tell your story to the Rhoni as the woman who joined hands with a Fae to heal two worlds.”

Not one to hold onto her ire for very long, she smiled at the Storyteller before hopping down from the table to stand beside Lyric.

“I think yours will be a very interesting story, Niz. And perhaps you will find that the Cards have something new to say.”


"Everything is bad except unicorns." -- Phoebe
#980966
Sun 20/10/19 18:01 UTC
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Wolf Offline OP
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The Heartwood
Dawnview Vale
Highbeck Glacier Village
Attaday, the Eighth Day of Horse


Bekkah, Keiko, Lyric, Nizhentska, Tomomi, and various villagers

Nizhentska started at the beginning — or, at the least, the beginning of this serving of the Village's most interesting first meal in a very, very long time. She simply gave Bekkah a wide-eyed look, which then narrowed before becoming wide-eyed once more.

"Nin, nin, nin, nin! This not about you! You are happy, bright, and all is right in world — ray of sunshine on blustery day!

"Don't you feel that about... about... about her! The minstrel! The Fair Folk!"

Again her attention fell on Lyric, looking across at the Fair Folk. Her head tilted — it seemed to be a habit of certain members of the Snow People — and blinked again and again as she listened to the blizzard of words that swept her way. But she was used to blizzards here, and she was the Village storyteller, so listening to tales was second nature to the younger woman. She did, however, take not one but two steps back.

"Promise?

"Promise on Stars and Snowflakes and Whiskersharks and cup of ice-cold kavass? Promise with Pinkies against Thousand Needles of Snowfang's Ironsilver Icicles?"

The look Nizhentska gave Lyric was hesitant and reluctant until she was suddenly interrupted by one of her shorter wards.

"Clobber Nizzy?

"Just like the broke tablet? Here! Here! Here! Need this, da, da, da?"

The young lad — at least he appeared to be a young lad, the kids looked all alike beneath their heavy glacier furs — offered Lyric a large wooden bowl.

"Now Fae-Girl-with-Horns can clobber Nizzy! Yea!"

It was perhaps the oddest reaction that any Fae had ever gotten for stepping out into the Mortal Realms. Niz had a very different one. Their guide looked down at her short quisling, pointing at him as she barked out a sudden exclamation.

"Josefi Black-eyes!

"Don't encourage her!"

He looked crestfallen.

"Aw. Never let me have any fun."

Placing her hand over her face Nizhentska, stepped nimbly off the table. She did so with a single extremely over-dramatic stiff-legged marching step, like someone who had been sentenced to walking off the edge of the Clock's outcropping to fall into the snowdrifts below.

"Stupid clock.

"How can Niz say no?

"Can't.

"So."

So Nizhentska let Lyric hug her.

#981337
Sun 27/10/19 14:20 UTC
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Lyric

Lyric cocked her head, eyes wide as Josefi offered a hopeful option. She shook her head and was about to respond with an emphatic negative statement, and maybe even a declarative expression of surprise at the notion of herself clobbering Nishentska, when Niz, herself, reprimanded the boy. She kept her mouth shut and her thoughts to herself for the moment as the caretaker of the children stepped down from the table. Lyric advanced the few steps to meet Niz and offered the embrace. She allowed Niz to make the final step, to enter into the embrace. Lyric's short stature was in a bit of a contrast to Nizhentska, but the Fey woman was determined not to let that be a hindrance.

"Thank you for taking a chance... a risk... It gives me hope, you give me hope."

When the embrace ran it's natural course, and Lyric's own unfamiliarity and discomfort with expressions of physical affection had reached it's peak, Lyric released her hold and stepped back. Her eyes fell to Josefi again, and then a couple of the other children. Everwhere she had travelled since crossing fromthe Fey realms, she had seen children, interacted with them, and been enraptured by them. Bluebell, the waif in the Bordertown... town... city... Babies in the arms of their mothers in market outside Snowgate Keep... and the children playing in Waverider's Reach. But here was a chance to actually interact and do so as herself, free of illusions and fears.

She knelt down where she was standing, upon one knee, so that she was one eye level with the child. She tapped one of her horns with a mischievous smile.

"Do you want to touch them, they're real..."

#981344
Sun 27/10/19 18:27 UTC
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Wolf Offline OP
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The Heartwood
Dawnview Vale
Highbeck Glacier Village
Attaday, the Eighth Day of Horse


Bekkah, Keiko, Lyric, Nizhentska, Tomomi, and various villagers

Bekkah's silence made their escort wrinkle her nose. She had asked a question, explained it when the Priestess took it to the wrong destination, and then there was nothing. Not that there was much time given to ask it a second time — at least not yet — before she had answered the Minstrel.

Hugging anyone here was an awkward thing, not so much because of height but because of furs and the clumsiness of bulky glacier clothing. It took Nizhentska a handful of heartbeats and a suspicious look this way and that - as if she genuinely thought that the metal tablet just might come sailing through the doorways - before she returned the embrace.

"Da. Da. Bah. How can you stay mad at nice folks? If folks not forgive, soon, place like here? No one talks to no one. That's just plain walk on sunny day without eyeshades stupid."

Shaking out her furs when she stepped back, she watched as Lyric turned to the children. It was interesting in that there was a protective component in that gaze, like a momma snowbear watching her cubs play with another critter, know everything would be fine. Until it wasn't fine. If that happened. Josefi, however, had a very different response.

"Can I?

"Yes!"

And with that, he stood on tiptoes and grabbed both of Lyric's horns.

"Snow and stars!"

His head tilted, and then he pushed one horn down and the other up and then one forward and the other back.

"Can we steer you? Just like snow sled!"

Behind the two, Nizhentska ducked her head and placed her hand over her features. Josefi — without letting go — slowly turned, looking directly at Tomomi.

"Are whiskers real too? Can I see? Please please please!"

Tomomi obviously had a very different feeling than Lyric, when it came to being tugged.

"SQUEAK!"

And with that, with a mouse-hop, she was suddenly hiding behind Keiko, seeking protection. Josefi blinked — once, then twice, before he looked up at Lyric with wide eyes.

"You do that too?"

#981428
Tue 29/10/19 12:07 UTC
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Bekkah

She watched Lyric interact with the child. It made her smile. Something about the innocence of children. She laughed out loud when Josefi turned his attention to Tomomi.

"I think our little friend here is a bit shy. Better to leave her alone."

#981649
Sun 03/11/19 14:28 UTC
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Lyric

Lyric shook her head slowly after the question about Mouse Hopping.

"Now, I want you to hold on very tight," Lyric said softly to the boy, whose face was directly in front of her own. "Hold on... Don't let go."

Josefi's questions about steering her, or the sudden new fascination with Tomomi, who wisely opted to remove herself from the 'fray', went unanswered for the moment. Lyric began to stand, using her thighs to push her self upward, with back straighter that usual, and lift the boy off of the floor. It seemed like a fun thing to do with him. He was adventurous and daring. Still, she cradled her arms beneath him, not touching but ready if his grip should falter.

Lyric wasn't very tall, and so the fally wouldn't be that dangerous regardless, but she was still prepared.

She tipped her head forward a little and she could feel his weight straining her neck, but it kept him hanging with just a little bit of dangle.

"Okay, try steering me like a sled," Lyric said, waiting and prepared for him to lose his grip. Maybe he wouldn't, but if he did...

#981670
Sun 03/11/19 20:40 UTC
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Wolf Offline OP
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The Heartwood
Dawnview Vale
Highbeck Glacier Village
Attaday, the Eighth Day of Horse


Bekkah, Keiko, Lyric, Nizhentska, Tomomi, and various villagers

"Josefi, no breaking Goat-Lady."

Josefi looked over Lyric's shoulder and made a face at Nizhentska and stuck out his tongue. Nizhentska put her hands on her hips.

"Will tell your Mat and Fa."

His eyes narrowed, and the look he gave his warden was a very definite ‘this means war’ look, for a little kid. Luckily, for now, while everyone else could see the showdown building, Lyric could not. He leaned back and gave this visiter to his Village the most innocent of smiles.

"Yea!"

And as he spoke, he took up Lyrics' offer.

And steered the Minstrel straight for Nizzy.

#981672
Sun 03/11/19 23:32 UTC
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Lyric

His weight, despite holding her head down slightly, afforded Josefi almost no leverage. Nor could he actually make her walk anywhere at his behest. She laughed and decided to play along. He was precocious. That was a word that had long been used to describe herself among a clann of people that still regarded her as a child even after nearly 3000 years. But then again, the word Child had lost all actual meaning to the Fae. There were none. No children, no babies... none. Lyric and a few others were among the last of the children born to the Fae before they shifted to Faerie.

Step by staggering step, Lyric made the halting journey to Niz at the guidance and lead of her 'driver'. And when she reached Niz she took the boy in her hands, one under each arm, and lifted him up and away from herself as though he were an offering to his true caretaker.

"You have reached your destination, young master."

Lyric pulled her head back to make his grip slip free so that she could make sure that Niz could see she was turning the boy over to her.

#982150
Sun 10/11/19 19:39 UTC
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Wolf Offline OP
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The Heartwood
Dawnview Vale
Highbeck Glacier Village
Attaday, the Eighth Day of Horse


Bekkah, Keiko, Lyric, Josefi, Nizhentska, Tomomi, and various villagers

There are things much easier said than done. And extracting one's horns from a determined child's grip was one of them. Nizzy tilted her head and watched both curiously and knowingly at how resolutely Josefi did not want to let go. Lyric may have declared that his destination was reached, but Josefi was not convinced.

"Nin, nin, nin, nin, we ain't there yet!

"You're supposed to clobber into Niiiii... ack!"

It took a very deliberately placed — and obviously well-practiced — bat of Nizhentska's palm to the back of the lad's head to both silence his complaints and shock him into letting go. Then she was able to take Josefi from Lyric's grasp, holding him up in a similar way but from behind.

"Not very nice, Josefi."

The lad's eyes flew open, and he suddenly started squirming, trying to escape. But being held up from behind with his feet above the floor ensured he had no leverage to escape.

"Hug! That's it! Hug! Hit and hug!"

Nizhentska didn't buy the child's quick words.

"Did Josefi not say clobber?"

Caught out, the boy swallowed.

"Ja. Bad Josefi. Bad Josefi punished."

With wide theatrical steps, it was Nizhentska's turn to take Josefi for a ride. Lurching almost like a top about to fall over, she crossed a similarly short distance between her and her other small charges. The other kids now looked up at Josefi with smiles that were more than a little predatory. They knew exactly what was expected of them.

POUNCE!

And with that, the other children glombed onto their mischief-maker, surrounding him and assaulting him.

"Nin, nin, ni...hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha..."

The tickle attack had begun.

Eventually, Nizhentska let Josefi go, to be buried beneath his cohorts in a tumble of laugher.

"Kids."

With a sigh, Nizhentska sat back down on the edge of the breakfast table. She grabbed a hunk of cheese and broke it in half.

"Can't live with them..."

She offered the other half to Lyric.

"Can't feed them to glacier bears."

Nizzy shook her piece of cheese at the buried Josefi.

"But don't think never thought it!"

That elicited a squeak from Tomomi, hiding completely behind Keiko now.

"I don't want to be bear lunch!"

The kid pile suddenly stopped. As one, they lurched to attention. Children are mercurial, and now a Mouse had gained their attention.

"Rawr!"

In bad imitations of a bear, on all fours, the children started to circle Keiko and Tomomi. Nizhentska placed her hands over her eyes, let out a breath, and then peeked through her fingers. She called out a quick reprimand to her wayward charges.

"How many times say no eating guests? Bad form!"

It was one of the girls who spoke up, rising to her faux-bear knees and pawing the air in front of her.

"Never!

"Never had guests before!"

Dropping her hand, Nizhentska blinked.

"Oh. Da. Right."

Looking at Keiko and Tomomi, Nizhentska just shrugged her shoulders.

"Bad news, you are on your own. Good news, they only tickle."

That did not seem to make Tomomi any less concerned.

#982151
Sun 10/11/19 19:44 UTC
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Kel Offline
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Keiko khal’Nakano Hoshiko
[pronounced KAY-ko... do you think the GM has memorized this yet? Nope, not yet...]

The children made her smile. They might be children of the Snow People, but they weren't much different than children of the Rhoni.

And so, when Josefi's punishment turned out to be an enthusiastic tickle attack, Keiko hid her growing smile behind her hand. Her free hand slid from her Forever Friend's shoulder when Tomomi slipped behind her. And when the pack of children turned their attention to her Forever Friend, Keiko giggled.

Looking from Nizhentska back to the children, she danced to the nearest child and began a tickle attack of her own.

"Aha! Sneaky Rhoni are very good ticklers! Run, my friend!" she said to Tomomi. "Lady Bekkah will save you!"

After a moment of tickling the captive child, she looked at Lyric and winked.

"Help me, Friend Lyric! Let us tickle these bear-children into submission!"

She laughed as she reached out to another child that was attempting to sneak up on her.


"Everything is bad except unicorns." -- Phoebe
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